High-Performance Computing for Alloy Development

Tomorrow’s fossil-fuel based power plants will achieve higher efficiencies by operating at higher pressures and temperatures and under harsher and more corrosive conditions. Unfortunately, conventional metals simply cannot withstand these extreme environments, so advanced alloys must be designed and fabricated to meet the needs of these advanced systems.

The properties of metal alloys, which are mixtures of metallic elements, are a function of both alloy composition and the alloy processing route. How do researchers determine the ratio of elements and the appropriate fabrication route to create a successful alloy? In the old days, time consuming trial and error methods were used. Today, computational simulations, using powerful computers like NETL’s supercomputer, guide experiments by predicting the effect of alloy composition on properties, processing and performance at condition.

When a proposed alloy performs well, according to the computer simulations, researchers match their computational expertise with their preeminent metallurgy abilities to create ingots of the most promising alloys. This integrated approach to developing alloys shortens development times for new systems and ensures that when the most efficient turbines and boilers are engineered, an equally advanced alloy will be ready to implement.